Courtesy of vox-cdn.com
I got so addicted to this I could barely take my eyes off it to write about it. As if Spotify hadn’t already won my heart, the music streaming service launched a mesmerizing feature last month called Serendipity. The captivating webpage zooms around a world map and shows you when two people around the world start listening to the exact same song at the exact same time.
The feature was created by Brooklyn-based digital artist Kyle McDonald, who recently became Spotify’s first Artist in Residence. According to the data that inspired his project, 25-50 million people are listening to music on Spotify at any given moment, and 10–20,000 songs are started every second. So every second of the day, a few people just so happen to listen to a song “together.”
The moving infographic is hypnotic, and accurate down to one a tenth of a second. The two listeners flash on the screen in their respective locations, and a quick snippet of their song of choice is played before you are whipped around the globe to the next serendipitous pair. The visualization you see on Serendipity is not live, but shows coincidences recently collected over the course of one hour.
This is not the only unique model McDonald has created while at Spotify, but it is the only one that was made public. His efforts, which include a completely live version of Serendipity used by Spotify for metrics, are usually distributed internally. McDonald works to find stimulating ways to display raw data for the company, with the hopes that the information will inspire new features in the future.
He recently built a globe of glowing pixels that represents user numbers around the world, as well as a live feed that shows all the music shared from Spotify on social networks. He has also explored why specific moments in songs cause listeners to hit the Thumbs Up button at the same instant, in an effort to determine “the biggest beat drop” of all time.
Besides being super rad, Serendipity is actually a great way to discover new music and see what other people around the world are into. Although McDonald would not divulge any specifics, he said that the Serendipity concept will likely be an integral part of future Spotify features.